Independent Submission B. Carpenter
Request for Comments: 6214 Univ. of Auckland
Category: Informational R. Hinden
ISSN: 2070-1721 Check Point Software
1 April 2011 Adaptation of RFC 1149 for IPv6
This document specifies a method for transmission of IPv6 datagrams
over the same medium as specified for IPv4 datagrams in RFC 1149.
Status of This Memo
This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
published for informational purposes.
This is a contribution to the RFC Series, independently of any other
RFC stream. The RFC Editor has chosen to publish this document at
its discretion and makes no statement about its value for
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conversion factors are implementation dependent, but as an
illustrative example, we assume that the 256 milligram MTU suggested
in RFC 1149 corresponds to an MTU of 576 octets. In that case, the
typical MTU for the present specification will be at least
256*1280/576, which is approximately 569 milligrams. Again as an
illustrative example, this is likely to require a carrier age of at
least 365 days.
Furthermore, the MTU issues are non-linear with carrier age. That
is, a young carrier can only carry small payloads, an adult carrier
can carry jumbograms [RFC2675], and an elderly carrier can again
carry only smaller payloads. There is also an effect on transit time
depending on carrier age, affecting bandwidth-delay product and hence
the performance of TCP.
3.2. Frame Format
RFC 1149 does not specify the use of any link layer tag such as an
Ethertype or, worse, an OSI Link Layer or SNAP header [RFC1042].
Indeed, header snaps are known to worsen the quality of service
provided by RFC 1149 carriers. In the interests of efficiency and to
avoid excessive energy consumption while packets are in flight
through the network, no such link layer tag is required for IPv6
packets either. The frame format is therefore a pure IPv6 packet as
defined in [RFC2460], encoded and decoded as defined in [RFC1149].
One important consequence of this is that in a dual-stack deployment
[RFC4213], the receiver MUST inspect the IP protocol version number
in the first four bits of every packet, as the only means to
demultiplex a mixture of IPv4 and IPv6 packets.
3.3. Address Configuration
The lack of any form of link layer protocol means that link-local
addresses cannot be formed, as there is no way to address anything
except the other end of the link.
Similarly, there is no method to map an IPv6 unicast address to a
link layer address, since there is no link layer address in the first
place. IPv6 Neighbor Discovery [RFC4861] is therefore impossible.
Implementations SHOULD NOT even try to use stateless address auto-
configuration [RFC4862]. This recommendation is because this
mechanism requires a stable interface identifier formed in a way
compatible with [RFC4291]. Unfortunately the transmission elements
specified by RFC 1149 are not generally stable enough for this and
may become highly unstable in the presence of a cross-wind.
In most deployments, either the end points of the link remain
unnumbered, or a /127 prefix and static addresses MAY be assigned.
See [IPv6-PREFIXLEN] for further discussion.
RFC 1149 does not specify a multicast address mapping. It has been
reported that attempts to implement IPv4 multicast delivery have
resulted in excessive noise in transmission elements, with subsequent
drops of packet digests. At the present time, an IPv6 multicast
mapping has not been specified, to avoid such problems.
4. Quality-of-Service Considerations
[RFC2549] is also applicable in the IPv6 case. However, the author
of RFC 2549 did not take account of the availability of the
Differentiated Services model [RFC2474]. IPv6 packets carrying a
non-default Differentiated Services Code Point (DSCP) value in their
Traffic Class field [RFC2460] MUST be specially encoded using green
or blue ink such that the DSCP is externally visible. Note that red
ink MUST NOT be used to avoid confusion with the usage of red paint
specified in RFC 2549.
RFC 2549 did not consider the impact on quality of service of
different types of carriers. There is a broad range. Some are very
fast but can only carry small payloads and transit short distances,
others are slower but carry large payloads and transit very large
distances. It may be appropriate to select the individual carrier
for a packet on the basis of its DSCP value. Indeed, different
carriers will implement different per-hop behaviors according to RFC
5. Routing and Tunneling Considerations
Routing carriers through the territory of similar carriers, without
peering agreements, will sometimes cause abrupt route changes,
looping packets, and out-of-order delivery. Similarly, routing
carriers through the territory of predatory carriers may potentially
cause severe packet loss. It is strongly recommended that these
factors be considered in the routing algorithm used to create carrier
routing tables. Implementers should consider policy-based routing to
ensure reliable packet delivery by routing around areas where
territorial and predatory carriers are prevalent.
There is evidence that some carriers have a propensity to eat other
carriers and then carry the eaten payloads. Perhaps this provides a
new way to tunnel an IPv4 packet in an IPv6 payload, or vice versa.
However, the decapsulation mechanism is unclear at the time of this
6. Multihoming Considerations
Some types of carriers are notoriously good at homing. Surprisingly,
this property is not mentioned in RFC 1149. Unfortunately, they
prove to have no talent for multihoming, and in fact enter a routing
loop whenever multihoming is attempted. This appears to be a
fundamental restriction on the topologies in which both RFC 1149 and
the present specification can be deployed.
7. Internationalization Considerations
In some locations, such as New Zealand, a significant proportion of
carriers are only able to execute short hops, and only at times when
the background level of photon emission is extremely low. This will
impact the availability and throughput of the solution in such
8. Security Considerations
The security considerations of [RFC1149] apply. In addition, recent
experience suggests that the transmission elements are exposed to
many different forms of denial-of-service attacks, especially when
perching. Also, the absence of link layer identifiers referred to
above, combined with the lack of checksums in the IPv6 header,
basically means that any transmission element could be mistaken for
any other, with no means of detecting the substitution at the network
layer. The use of an upper-layer security mechanism of some kind
seems like a really good idea.
There is a known risk of infection by the so-called H5N1 virus.
Appropriate detection and quarantine measures MUST be available.
9. IANA Considerations
This document requests no action by IANA. However, registry clean-up
may be necessary after interoperability testing, especially if
multicast has been attempted.
Steve Deering was kind enough to review this document for conformance
with IPv6 requirements. We acknowledge in advance the many errata in
this document that will be reported by Alfred Hoenes.
This document was produced using the xml2rfc tool [RFC2629].
11.1. Normative References
[RFC1149] Waitzman, D., "Standard for the transmission of IP
datagrams on avian carriers", RFC 1149, April 1990.
[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.
[RFC2460] Deering, S. and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol,
Version 6 (IPv6) Specification", RFC 2460,
[RFC2474] Nichols, K., Blake, S., Baker, F., and D. Black,
"Definition of the Differentiated Services Field
(DS Field) in the IPv4 and IPv6 Headers", RFC 2474,
[RFC2675] Borman, D., Deering, S., and R. Hinden, "IPv6
Jumbograms", RFC 2675, August 1999.
[RFC4213] Nordmark, E. and R. Gilligan, "Basic Transition
Mechanisms for IPv6 Hosts and Routers", RFC 4213,
11.2. Informative References
[IPv6-PREFIXLEN] Kohno, M., Nitzan, B., Bush, R., Matsuzaki, Y.,
Colitti, L., and T. Narten, "Using 127-bit IPv6
Prefixes on Inter-Router Links", Work in Progress,
[RFC1042] Postel, J. and J. Reynolds, "Standard for the
transmission of IP datagrams over IEEE 802
networks", STD 43, RFC 1042, February 1988.
[RFC2549] Waitzman, D., "IP over Avian Carriers with Quality
of Service", RFC 2549, April 1999.
[RFC2629] Rose, M., "Writing I-Ds and RFCs using XML",
RFC 2629, June 1999.
[RFC4291] Hinden, R. and S. Deering, "IP Version 6 Addressing
Architecture", RFC 4291, February 2006.
[RFC4861] Narten, T., Nordmark, E., Simpson, W., and H.
Soliman, "Neighbor Discovery for IP version 6
(IPv6)", RFC 4861, September 2007.
[RFC4862] Thomson, S., Narten, T., and T. Jinmei, "IPv6
Stateless Address Autoconfiguration", RFC 4862,
[RFC6036] Carpenter, B. and S. Jiang, "Emerging Service
Provider Scenarios for IPv6 Deployment", RFC 6036,
Department of Computer Science
University of Auckland
Robert M. Hinden
Check Point Software Technologies, Inc.
800 Bridge Parkway
Redwood City, CA 94065